Costa row brews at Vic

Obesity fears: Costa's restaurant in Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Obesity fears: Costa's restaurant in Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Health chiefs have defended allowing a coffee shop which sells sugar-laden drinks and cakes to open on hospital premises.

Costa Coffee has two outlets at Blackpool Victoria Hospital but the chain recently came under fire for being allowed to sell sweet treats to hospital staff and patients.

Dr Sally Norton, an NHS consultant specialising in weight loss and upper gastrointestinal surgery, has called for the coffee shops to be banned.

She told reporters: “We frequently hear laments about the cost to the NHS of the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is threatening to engulf us.

“And yet, the NHS, which I understood to be an organisation that promotes and supports health (rather than just treating disease), is actually contributing to the problem.”

But a spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust said they offered a range of food and drink options which included healthy options.

She said: “Our menu choice, provided both in-house and by retail outlets, is varied and balanced.

“It does not exclude or ban foods that are higher in fat, salt or sugars, however it does offer choice and variety including a large range of healthy options.

“Costa Coffee is just one of a number of outlets available at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“The service offered by Costa, along with all our retail and in-house units, is well used by both staff, patients and visitors and is greatly valued.

“The income generated from the retail units at Blackpool Victoria Hospital directly contributes to the exceptional patient environment provided by both the main entrance and car park development.”

A spokesman for Costa Coffee said: “A number of NHS sites have chosen to offer the Costa brand, delivered via their catering partners, in order to provide a quality product and to complement the other food and drink options they offer on their premises.

“In order for customers to make an informed choice about what they eat and drink, Costa always labels packaged products clearly and all nutritional information on these and on other products are readily available for the customer either online or in-store.”

Last month a report by Blackpool Council’s public health team revealed more than one in four reception age children in Blackpool are now classed as obese.

Among adults, 29,000 people in Blackpool now classed as clinically obese.